Holiday Collard Greens

I am writing this post for my friend, Liz, who has a bumper crop of collards in her garden in New Orleans. This is my favorite collards recipe, one that I make every holiday. For those of you who are new to preparing these amazing greens, there are a couple of very important things to do to ensure success.

  • Cleaning and cutting are very important, particularly if you are working with a lot of collards at one time. You’ll want to rinse thoroughly several times to ensure the collards are free of any dirt and sand. When they are good and clean, de-stem and cut them according to the process shown in Instant Pot Yellow Lentils and Collard Greens.
  • Collards benefit from complex flavoring: smoke, salt, sour and sweet and a umami-style richness.
  • It is important to use a pan and a large stock pot for this recipe. The collards will be placed in the pot, and aromatics and bacon will be started in the pan and poured over the collards. This is to ensure that the bottom of the pot does not scorch (you don’t want that burnt flavor to transfer to the greens).

Ingredients

1 package vegan bacon, diced
5-6 bunches of collards, cleaned, with the stems removed, cut into chiffonade slices
1 head of garlic, minced (use more if you like extra-garlicky greens)
two cups vegan stock
1 large onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon smoky paprika
1 jalapeno, minced
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vegan sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt and hot sauce, to taste

Method

  1.  In a dry pan that has been allowed to heat for 3 minutes, add the oil, and then the onions, peppers and bacon. Saute until the onions become translucent and the bacon starts to crisp.
  2. Add the garlic, and give everything a toss. Turn the heat down to low, and let the garlic cook slowly. It is important that it does not burn. Keep cooking until the garlic and onions are fully cooked, and the bacon is slightly crispy.
  3. Place the collards in a large stock pot, and over them, add the onions, peppers, garlic, and bacon.
  4. Add the stock, stir, and then add the black pepper, red pepper, paprika, lemon, vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  5. Place a lid over the pot and cook the collards over a low flame for 90 minutes, stirring periodically and adding a bit more liquid during the cooking process, if needed. If you find that collards are giving off a lot of liquid, you can remove it during the cooking process.
  6. To serve, sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired.